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2012-01-21 13:40:08
Utah Home Market Check-Up

Sales Up, Prices Down

professional Utah real estate manby Joel Carson

Statistics can be fickle. Never take a statistical analysis too seriously unless you take the following into consideration: time period represented, specific geographic area, period and geographic comparisons, and the analyst’s intended message.

When it comes to reading the Utah real estate market, I like to look at the big picture first; then, I take time to analyze individual statistics and related factors to determine what went wrong, what went right, and when.

2011 Annual Utah Home Sales Stats Make Me Smile

Utah home annual sales comparison chart

Take a look at the table to the right. This table is based on a report generated by the Wasatch Front Regional MLS. Utah home sales are up compared to annual reports from 2009 and 2010. That’s good news. Home prices are actually down compared to 2009 and 2010 with a peak annual median of $200,000 in 2009 to $190,000 in 2010, and $174,949 in 2011. That’s bad – or wait, is it? Not necessarily. Utah saw a fascinating spike in the sale of luxury homes for an extended period of time (which could account for higher price averages in prior years). Also, foreclosure homes seized in the midst of our housing crisis hit the market hard increasing inventory and driving median prices down. Sometimes sales prices are based on simple supply and demand. Check out the number of new listings for each year:

Number of new listings (impacts Utah home inventory):

  • 2009—60,599
  • 2010—59,606
  • 2011—51,165

There were nearly 9,500 more new listings in 2009 than there were in 2011; and, nearly 8,500 more new listings in 2010 than in 2011. Could this mean foreclosures and distressed property sales are slowing? It is certainly an indication of increasing consumer confidence. Don’t let the decrease in Utah home prices bother you. Again, luxury home sales showed an interesting increase for an extended period of time indicating the rich were buying at one point; but, the average home owner? Not so much. Incredible interest prices combined with increased consumer confidence concocts some pretty good medicine for an ailing Utah home market. Mortgage lenders are starting to loosen up a little too, and that is very good news.

Small Pieces of a Big Picture

The main considerations “housing market doctors” use to conduct a thorough checkup in any geographic area are as follows:

  1. Number of homes sold
  2. Sold prices
  3. Days on market
  4. Number of new listings
  5. Overall interest rates
  6. Asking prices compared to sold prices

Statistics fluctuate every day, month, quarter, and every year; the shorter the period of time considered, and the smaller the geographic area considered, the less powerful the data set. Be very wary of percentages in statistical analyses.  Comparison data sets that watch annual trends are better indicators of a market’s health.

When comparing statistics, also take into account:

  1. Utah home inventory (supply and demand)
  2. Interest rates
  3. Consumer confidence
  4. Unemployment rates
  5. Major events (such as natural disasters)
  6. Loan availability
  7. Local, state and federal incentives
  8. Specific tax incentives

Any of these factors combined with selective data can be used to scare you to death, or offer false hope. It’s very important that you, the consumer, are in tune with what’s really going on.

If you have a home to sell, or if you want to buy a Utah home for sale, contact us at 801-673-3333 right now! Or, take time to browse through our extensive listings of Utah homes for sale at www.allutahhomes.com.


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